St Neots Town FC 2 : 3 Hitchin Town
Match
Photos
SLP 02
St Neots Town FC 2 : 3
Hitchin Town
Tuesday 21 August, 2012 19:45

 

 

 

Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division

 

 

ST NEOTS TOWN       2     HITCHIN TOWN     3

Attendance:  390

 

Two single goal defeats in their first four days at Step Three was disappointing but there were several positives for St Neots to take from this opening home defeat of the new season. They were beaten by a visiting side that began like a whirlwind scoring twice in the first nine minutes so St Neots must learn to start more quickly themselves. Always behind St Neots refused to give up and they finished the stronger of the two sides and almost certainly deserved a point.   They had several shots blocked by a well organised defence especially late in the second half when a goal would almost certainly been enough to earn that elusive first point and they will have furthered their experience at what promises to be a challenging season.They were cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd – the biggest ever for a midweek league match.

It was an unchanged line up that started for St Neots – a rare occurrence.   However all the early plaudits were taken by Hitchin. After just three minutes a perfectly placed cross from the right by Tony Fontenelle split the St Neots defence and Daniel Delderfield had only to tap the ball in from six yards.   Hitchin maintained their attacking momentum and three minutes later Declan Rogers totally misjudged a back pass to Michael Duggan and Delderfield nipped in between defender and goalkeeper for a gift second goal. To their credit St Neots were unruffled as they set about retrieving their position and Ben Mackey had the first of many shots blocked by a defender. After 16 minutes a rasping shot by Jacob rebounded from a post with Bennett beaten and that set the tone of St Neots fortunes. After 23 minutes a brilliant saving tackle by Jordan Gent prevented Callum Donnelly from claiming a third Hitchin goal and play moved to the other end where a cross from Lewis Hilliard was only cleared as far as Callum Stewart and aided by a defensive deflection he scored with a low shot.Duggan had to move smartly off his line to dive at the feet of Donnelly and Mackey dragged a shot wide after good work by Jon Paul Duncliffe and Hilliard.

St Neots started in positive mood after the break but after 49 minutes were dealt a body blow as the Hitchin man of the match Tony Fontenelle who had terrorised the left side of the St Neots defence sealed a fine performance with a searing 25 yards shot into the roof of the net to reinstate the visitors’ two goal advantage. Again St Neots strove to get back into the match with Jordan Gent seeing a header deflected over the bar and then bringing a useful close range save from Bennett. On the hour St Neots sent on Ed Adjei for the limping Charlie Dove and minute later Declan Rogers squared a pass to Callum Stewart who unleashed an unstoppable drive into the roof of the net to reduce the deficit. The pace continued unabated with Gent pulling off another last ditch tackle and Duggan distinguishing himself with a brilliant double save in the same attack to deny Donnelly and Fontenelle. However St Neots now threw everything forward sending on Kaine Felix and reverting to a three man defence but it was all in vain. Their final effort was an audacious chip by Stefan Moore that went over the keeper but skimmed the crossbar. They must now hope for better fortunes with the visit of Weymouth on Saturday.

 

St Neots: Duggan, Duncliffe, Rogers, Stewart, Gent, Lee, Hilliard, Dove, Moore, Mackey, Jacob.

Subs:  Adjei (for Dove 60 mins), Felix (for Gent 83 mins), Sharman, Manangu & Colmer.

Cards: Lee (Y), Moore (Y), Hilliard (Y)

 

Hitchin: Bennett, Webb, Leach, Stewart, Gilbert, Lee, Fontenelle, Gregson, Donnelly, Delderfield, Burke.

Subs: Beckett (for Lee 90 mins), Islam, Hickey, Toomey & Bickerstaff

Cards: Donnelly (Y)

 

 

Referee: Christopher Francis

 

 

John Walker